There’s a simple equation to follow for business success: a great product or service + an excellent customer experience = loyal customers and more sales. It’s how you convert new customers into long-term brand advocates. But it’s not a stagnant equation—as times change, you need to adapt your business to the ever-evolving expectations of customers.
Your customers keep you in business. If you’re not keeping them happy, you’re bound to see sales start slipping. The key to keeping your revenue high is to provide excellent customer service to every customer, every time. Whether your business is 100% online, 100% brick and mortar, or something in between, you need to make sure their experience is spot on every time they interact with you.
You know your product or service best, so we’ll leave that part of the equation to you. But if you’re ready to take take your customer experience to the next level, read on!
What is customer experience?
The customer experience entails all the interactions between a customer and a business over the duration of their relationship. Many experts agree that the customer experience makes a substantial impact on your bottom line. In fact, an analysis of more than 400 CEOs revealed that they consider customer experience to be the most important factor in creating a competitive advantage. Maintaining a strong customer experience will not only gain you customers, but will keep those customers coming back.
To truly define the customer experience, consider the ways your customers interact with your business: in person, online, over the phone, through mailings, email, social media, and at events. All of these channels play a part in a customer’s overall experience. Customer experience is no longer limited to in-person interactions.
Why is customer experience so crucial to business success?
You need to impress your customers at every step of their experience. If you don’t, you’ll see major losses. According to a survey by Dimensional Research for Zendesk, 39% of customers stay away from vendors for up to two years following a bad experience. The same survey also found that consumers are more likely to recall a bad experience than a good one.
If a customer has a bad experience, it impacts much more than just their relationship with (and purchases from) your business. Dissatisfied customers typically tell nine to 15 other people about their experience, causing you to lose out on even more customers and sales.
But you can do something to avoid these unfortunate situations. Here are four ways to improve the customer experience to better please customers and make more sales.
1. Ask for Feedback
Want to know how to make the customer experience even better? Simply ask! The best way to get a pulse on the happiness of your customers—and what could make them even happier—is to utilize customer feedback surveys.
Today’s technology makes it incredibly easy to survey your customers and get valid insights into what they like, dislike, and want more of. Even better, you can get this data within minutes of a customer’s interaction with your business! This means you get usable, real-time data that can better guide your business to delivering the best customer experience.
An effective customer feedback survey can identify problem areas and help you formulate strategies to improve. A Net Promoter Score (NPS) tells how likely customers are to refer you to friends, while the Overall Satisfaction (OSAT) metric is a simple way to get a pulse on how customers feel about your business. Try starting with a template, then customize the feedback form to the needs of your customers and business.
To ensure you receive a high level of responses, focus on keeping your customer feedback survey questions short, simple, and relevant. If you’re currently using paper forms, upgrading to a digital feedback form could save your business hundreds of hours of manual data entry! Make the feedback form eye-catching by adding your own graphics and branding, then launch it to customers in-store and online.
2. Communicate Often
The tried-and-true way to retain customers and increase sales is through providing excellent customer service. Today, you need to think about customer service through an omnichannel lens. This means understanding the full scope of how your customers are served, including online, over the phone, in-person, and through mobile.
One area to really focus on within the scope of customer service is how you assist customers with questions, concerns, and issues. Communication is key, and customers expect your business to be available to serve them 24/7. If they can’t connect with you on their first try, 51% of customers said they would give up on a purchase. Ouch!
Here are ways to improve customer service through communication:
- Enable some form of 24/7 communication, whether through phone, social media, or chat
- Thank customers for recent purchases through email and include ways to contact you
- Offer their receipt through paper, text, and/or email
- Send customer feedback forms to gain better insights into communication needs
- Use technology like chat bots, Facebook messenger, or an app to provide instant info
3. Go Mobile
As technology becomes more mobile-centric, so do consumers. In fact, when interacting with a business for customer service and support, 78% of consumers use mobile devices. That number increases to 90% when working with millennials. If your business isn’t taking a mobile-first approach, you’re losing out on business.
There are a multitude of ways customers can use mobile technology to communicate with your business. Email, website, SMS, chatbots, social media, apps, and more. Take some time to audit how your business is reaching customers through mobile. How can you expand? What needs to be updated? What is making the customer experience better, and what is making it worse?
Don’t forget to ask your customers how they would like to communicate with you. You can add this question to lead generation forms and your feedback forms. It’s smart to make all forms and surveys mobile-friendly as well.
4. Get Personal
Customers expect you to personalize their experience now more than ever. At a time when collecting, managing, and utilizing customer data is no longer a massive investment of time and money, there’s no reason to not personalize communications and customer experiences. Salesforce confirmed this with a recent study, finding that 52% of customers responded that they are extremely or somewhat likely to change brands if a company does not personalize its communication with them.
Wondering how you can personalize? Here are some ideas:
- Insert names into email subject lines, previews, and body copy
- Offer content based on personal interests and shopping patterns
- Interact on social media to those who give your brand a shout out or mention
- Create email campaigns that offer recommended products based on past purchases
- Give discounts on birthdays, anniversaries, or other significant events
At the end of the day, creating the best possible customer experience is always about putting your customers first and identifying how to better serve them. By implementing better communication and adapting to new technology, you can improve customer service, provide an excellent customer experience, and increase sales.
If you’re ready to dive in, get started by asking your customers for feedback. QuickTapSurvey makes it easy to launch a mobile-friendly feedback form in minutes. Get insight into what your customers want and deliver an excellent customer experience by launching your first survey for free now.